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Analysing status diversity: Immigration, asylum, and stratified rights

Morris, L (2014) 'Analysing status diversity: Immigration, asylum, and stratified rights.' In: UNSPECIFIED, (ed.) Routledge International Handbook of Diversity Studies. UNSPECIFIED, 67 - 74. ISBN 9780415813860

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The presence on national territory of those outside of national membership has long prompted interest in both the extent and the foundation of migrants’ rights, with deliberation often focussed on the balance between universal claims and national particularism.1 Writing of the stateless persons generated in the aftermath of the First World War, Arendt (1979) remarked on the ‘hopeless idealism’ and ‘feeble minded hypocrisy’ of human rights talk (ibid.: 269) when in practice the loss of citizenship meant an absence of all rights. This juxtaposition may be termed ‘Arendt’s paradox’, and turned on the fact that any attempt to lay claim to universal human rights broke down when states were confronted with ‘the abstract nakedness of being human’ (ibid.: 299). Her fear was that the promise of human rights amounted to little more than ‘a right of exception. . . for those who had nothing better to fall back on’ (ibid.: 293). Though the situation today is somewhat changed and there now exists a wide range of treaties and conventions which can be called upon to support the position of trans-national migrants and asylum seekers, Arendt’s argument has continuing contemporary relevance. This is captured by Benhabib’s (2004) reflections on a dilemma at the heart of liberal democracy: ‘There is not only a tension but often an outright contradiction, between human rights declarations and states’ sovereign claims to control their borders as well as to monitor the quality and quantity of admittees’ (ibid.: 2).

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Users 161 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2014 15:08
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2021 16:15

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